The Important Reason Why #HisNameIsCayden Is Trending

October 6th 2015

Diana Crandall

A selfie mocking a young African American boy has gone viral after commenters left bigoted and racist remarks on the Facebook photo.

The white man, who posted the photo, is named Gerod Roth.

The three-year-old alongside Roth in the photo? His name is Cayden.

Roth, who goes by Geris Hilton on Facebook, posted the picture on September 16. It shows him alongside the child of a coworker at Polaris Marketing Group. The same day the picture was posted, racist and derogatory remarks from his friends filled the comment section.

"I didn’t know you were a slave owner," Emily Irene Red wrote. The comment received ten "likes." And that is just a sample of the racist derogatory remarks made about the three-year-old boy.

After the picture began to circulate, Cayden's mother, Sydney Jade, made a statement about the incident:

“This is Cayden Jace! The love of my life, the apple in my eye, my EVERYTHING," Cayden's mom Sydney Jade wrote on Facebook, accompanied with photos of Cayden. "All this lovely personality wrapped up into one small person’s body. When people hear about him, these are the pictures I want them to know about. Not that disturbing image and its comments.

"We are above all this nonsense that has been going on," she continued. "Cayden and I truly appreciate all of the love that we have been shown in the last 24 hours. You guys warm my heart, more than words could ever express. This little guy has every piece of my heart, he is my world and #HisNameIsCayden."

The hashtag #HisNameIsCayden took off, going viral and sparking conversation about why racist comments about anyone—and especially a defenseless child—should not be tolerated. In response, Roth lost his job at Polaris Marketing Group. One of the commentors, Emily Irene, also lost her job at Conch Republic Grill.

"I never in a million years expected it to be this massive,” Jade told Atlantic Black Star in an interview. “If it has to start with us, I’m going to finish it. It was my son put in the limelight. And not only my son but a child, a 3-year-old, someone who can’t defend himself."

A woman named Brittany Turner also created a GoFundMe for Cayden. The money is meant for Cayden's to help pay for Cayden’s college fund.